Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy was born on this day in 1900. Anyone interested in the history of green building should be aware of his significance. (Here's a page which provides a nice introduction.)
This is a favorite quotation:
"Any architect who makes a solar furnace of his building and compensates for this by installing a huge cooling machine is approaching the problem inappropriately and we can measure the inappropriateness of his attempted solution by the excess number of kilocalories he uselessly introduces into the building."
---from Natural Energy and Vernacular Architecture (1986)
That book is a major resource on traditional methods of natural cooling in the Middle East. If you want to learn about courtyards, the mashrabiya, the malqaf, and other features, Fathy's book is the place to begin.
I was once told that Fathy was the first person to use the word 'sustainability' in the context of architecture, in the 1930s. I'm still trying to track that down.
Also: A Hassan Fathy oral history recording is available to listen here.